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There are conflicting data on the role of anxiety in predicting mortality.
To evaluate the 10-year mortality risk associated with anxiety in community-dwelling elderly people.
Using data from 718 men and 1046 women aged 65 years and over, gender-stratified associations of anxiety symptoms (Spielberger State–Trait Anxiety Inventory, third tertile) and current DSM-IV anxiety disorder including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and phobia with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality were determined.
In women, mortality risk was increased for anxiety disorder and GAD in multivariate Cox models (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.53, 95% Cl 1.02-2.27 and HR = 2.04, 95% Cl 1.08-3.86 respectively), whereas for phobia it was nearly significant (HR= 1.52, 95% Cl 0.94-2.47). Anxiety trait symptoms became non-significant as a result of the confounding effect of depressive symptoms. Anxiety disorder was associated with cardiovascular mortality in univariate analysis (HR = 2.42, 95% Cl 1.16-5.07). No significant associations were found in men.
Our study suggests a gender-specific association of anxiety and mortality.
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